Book and Lyrics by Carl Kissin
Music by Rob Baumgartner, Jr.
I fully support any musical with a 70-minute running time. Not that shows shouldn’t be longer, but having the commute that I do back to the suburbs, shorter is generally better. (I can think of only a handful of things I’ve seen in the past fifteen years that should have been longer.) And when a show uses 70 minutes as warmly, cleverly, and hilariously as Date of a Lifetime, well, that’s just icing on the cake. (Made more interesting by the fact that it started as a five-minute monologue by Kissin which then became a 15-minute musical before being expanded to its current length.)
The plot is simple enough—two lonely strangers meet at a speed-dating event and imagine entire lives with each other, lived out in fast forward. It’s not life-altering, to be sure, but it’s enormously warm and funny, and at times surprisingly deep. (Which is less than surprising, considering director Jeremy Dobrish is very good at this—he directed the tonally similar I See London, I See France several NYMFs ago.) And you really can’t ask for better performers for this kind of material than Jamie LaVerdiere and Farah Alvin, both of whom are expert comedians who just happen to have fabulous voices. (Although LaVerdiere might be just a tad too goyishe to pull off some of the Jewishness of the character.)
If there’s anything to quibble about, it’s that some parts of the score fall short of the high standards of the book—although the lyrics are almost invariably clever, the music too often lapses into undistinguished pop without quite evincing its own voice. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to love in the songs: the rollicking opener “It’ll Never Work Out,” the sweet “The Matter,” and the lovely “So Little” stand out.
SCORE: 7 out of 10.